Saturday, September 22, 2012

Spicy Potatoes with Ginger and Garlic

Spicy Potatoes with Ginger and Garlic in White Ramekin, Overhead View on Black Background

The Deep Flavor of this Vegan Indian Dish Will Make Your Tongue Smile

Of all the world’s cuisines, India’s may have the most numerous and flavorful recipes for potatoes.  Today’s dish is a good example:  It’s rich with ginger, garlic, and spices. 

Although these potatoes go well in a traditional Indian meal, they are equally at home when nestled up to a roast.  They have just enough spice and flavor to make you sit up and take notice, but not so much that they’ll dominate the entire meal.

They may dominate the dinnertime conversation, though, as your guests exclaim over their terrific flavor.


Spicy Potatoes with Ginger and Garlic in White Ramekin, with Napkin and Fork

Recipe:  Spicy Potatoes with Ginger and Garlic

This dish works best when you prepare part of it ahead of time.  It’s especially good when made with precooked (or leftover) boiled potatoes — so you can do that part a day ahead if necessary.  Then several hours before you plan to serve it, you can put together the ginger-and-garlic paste, and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook.  Total preparation time is 15 to 20 minutes.  When you’re ready to finish the dish, actual cooking time is 10 to 12 minutes. 

This recipe is adapted from my favorite Indian cookbook, Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking (the 1982 version written to accompany a BBC TV program; now out of print, alas).  

The recipe serves 6 to 8.  Leftovers keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.

Ingredients
  • ~2 pounds waxy potatoes (depending on size, 6 to 8)
  • ~2 tablespoons grated or minced fresh peeled ginger
  • 3 - 6 cloves garlic (I like garlic so I use more; you may prefer less)
  • ¾ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ - ¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons water (see Step 2)
  • 4 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons washed and chopped cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)
Procedure
  1. Several hours (or the night before) you want to make this dish, prepare your potatoes.  I suggest scrubbing, peeling, and dicing them, then preparing them as you would for Potato Salad. If you follow that recipe, you may want to undercook them just a bit — they'll finish cooking in Step 4 of this recipe. Once they’ve firmed up (Step 6 of that recipe), spread them on a kitchen towel and allow to cool. Then place them in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to proceed with this recipe. See Notes for an alternate way of preparing potatoes. 
  2. Next, you need to prepare the ginger-garlic spice mixture, which you can make either several hours ahead of time, or just before you are ready to use it. Peel the ginger and garlic and chop roughly. Put it in the jar of a mini food processor or blender. Whirl a few times to mince. Scrap down the sides, and add the turmeric, salt, and cayenne pepper. Add just enough water so you can make a paste (if using a blender, you may need to double the amount of water). Whirl the food processor until a paste forms. Scrap the contents of the work bowl into a smaller bowl. You can cover the paste and refrigerate until you’re ready to proceed with Step 3; or proceed right away. 
  3. About 12 minutes before you’re ready to serve this dish, remove the potatoes and ginger-garlic mixture from the refrigerator. Place a 10” (or larger) skillet, preferably non-stick or well-seasoned cast iron, over medium heat. When it’s hot (it takes about 2 minutes), add the oil and allow it to heat. When the oil is hot (it shimmers; this takes seconds if the skillet is hot), add the fennel seeds if using. They’ll sizzle; let them cook for 10 seconds, then add the ginger-garlic paste. Stir, and cook that for two minutes. 
  4. Add the potatoes, stir to coat with the ginger-garlic paste, and fry over medium heat until they have a nice golden crust on them. This takes about 7 minutes or so. 
  5. Serve with an optional garnish of chopped cilantro.
Spicy Potatoes with Ginger and Garlic in White Ramekin, with Napkin and Fork

Notes
  • There’s another way of preparing the potatoes:  You can scrub them, then boil in their jackets until done (typically 15 minutes or so; when you stick a fork in the potatoes, they’ll still be just barely firm).  Drain and let them cool completely.  Store them in the refrigerator until ready to use.  Then peel, and cut into dice of between ¾ to 1 inch, and proceed with recipe.  This is a great method if you’re preparing plain boiled potatoes for a meal the night before – just make extras, and use the leftovers.
  • This is one of those dishes where you can play with the measurements a bit – altering them to suit your taste.  I suggest making this dish first as written so you have a baseline, then changing it the next time you make it.
  • You can add some ground dried cumin and coriander to the ginger-garlic paste if you wish (a teaspoon or so of each; add it with the turmeric).  This will give you an even spicier dish.
  • This is a “dry” dish as opposed to a liquid curry.  It’s excellent with Tandoori Chicken. Or, as noted above, with a roast — chicken, beef, and pork are all good bets. 
  • It’s also a great dish to serve at a barbecue. You can even serve it cold – it’s still mighty good.
Spicy Potatoes with Ginger and Garlic in White Ramekin, Black Background

Winding Up Indian Fortnight

We’ve had two weeks of delicious Indian recipes here on Kitchen Riffs.  We started off with Pink Dal with Swiss Chard and followed that up with Aromatic Yellow Rice. Then we made Summer Squash in Tomato Curry Sauce before grilling a terrific main course dish, Tandoori Chicken. Today, we finish up Indian Fortnight with this great-tasting potato dish. (I’ve never served it to anyone who didn’t fall in love with it!)

With all these recipes to choose from, there are enough options to make an entire meal (or two!) from the various offerings. The chicken will satisfy the cravings of any meat eater at your table. Or combine the dal with the rice, and you have a hearty entrée for your vegan or vegetarian friends. Or do as I sometimes do — serve all the dishes at the same meal. Too much food, but everyone has a lot to choose from, and no one will go hungry. And the leftovers are wonderful.

Bon appétit! Or as they might say in Hindi, āp kā khānā svādiṣṭa ho.

You may also be interested in reading about:
Tandoori Chicken
Summer Squash in Tomato Curry Sauce
Pink Dal with Swiss Chard
Aromatic Yellow Rice
Sweet Potatoes in Curry Sauce
Red-Braised Beans and Sweet Potatoes
Vegan Mapo Tofu
Sweet Potato Chili with Black Beans Roast Belgian Endive
Braised Belgian Endive
Roast Cauliflower
Roast Sweet Potatoes

52 comments:

  1. I'm smiling already as I look at this recipe--I'm usually not a fan of many spiced foods, but I love it when they make a simple side dish that I can just enjoy on its own. Yum and yum again--thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hi wallflourgirl, these are really terrific! If you usually don't like spicy, I suggest cutting back on the cayenne pepper - it'll be less hot that way. Thanks for your comment.

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  2. These look delicious. I always look for new ways to prepare potatoes.
    I'm not big into spicy foods but a little kick is fine. I have some sweet potatoes and will probably give this a try with those. Hani

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    1. Hi Haniela, oh, sweet potatoes would be wonderful using this recipe! I love that idea! In fact I may borrow it. ;-) Thanks for your comment.

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  3. i prefer these dry potatoes over the curried ones. these ones taste soooo good with purees and even parathas... omg!i am hungry now...hahaha

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    1. Hi cakewhiz, I enjoy wet curries, but for potatoes (or cauliflower) it's dry curries all the way for me. Sorry to make you hungry. ;-) Thanks for your comment.

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  4. This was such a great menu - I would love all of these Indian dishes at one big celebration! YUM :)

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    1. Hi everydaymaven, wasn't this series a lot of fun? I'm with you in having all these dishes at once! Thanks for your comment.

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  5. Beautiful dish. Do you toast your spices before you put them in this dish? I actually make lots of Indian dishes for breakfast as they are quite healthy, gluten free and diversifies the menu. I will be adding this one to the favorites. A great 2 weeks of Indian food here at Kitchen Riffs. Have a super week. Take Care, BAM

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    1. Hi Bam, sometimes I do toast my spices, but not for this dish. When you add the spices to the ginger-garlic paste, you cook them that way, and I find toasting in that case adds little. Though I know others disagree, and always toast their spices! Thanks for the kind words, and the comment.

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  6. I have throughly enjoyed your two weeks of Indian dishes. I can't wait to try the potatoes. I do a similar process with potatoes using just garlic so I know I will like these.

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    1. Hi Karen, this is one of the best potato dish I know! It's great with just garlic, but I think the addition of ginger adds quite a bit of snap to the flavor. Thanks for your comment.

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  7. Mmmmm my mum makes this quite often though the addition of ginger is new - would love to try it thank you :D
    Your photography as always is incredible!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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    1. Hi Uru, you'll like the ginger, trust me - a really nice addition. Thanks for your kind words, and the comment.

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  8. I adore potatoes done this way with so many wake-me-up spices. A great side dish to perk up any main course.

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    1. Hi Carolyn, these spices definitely will wake you up. ;-) Seriously good grub. Thanks for your comment.

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  9. I have tried similar kind of potato dish. It was made by one of my Pakistani friend and she made into patties and pan fried it. I LOVED it. They are so good. I think potato goes so well with these spices. Once you try it, it is hard to go back plain old style.

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    1. Hi Holly, I like the idea of potato patties - I'll have to try that sometime. I agree that potato dishes are so good that it's hard not to have them every time you want potatoes! Thanks for your comment.

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  10. I'll be right over.

    Seriously...

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    1. Hi Kim, you'd be very welcome! ;-) Thanks for commenting.

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  11. Oh my gosh, John...I can practically smell these through my computer screen! I love potatoes any which way. But these look absolutely fabulous! I hope to have them cozying up to a roast one day soon! Your photographs are so inviting! : )

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    1. Hi Anne, they have a terrific aroma, don't they? ;-) You'll love these next to a roast - so good. Thanks for the kind words, and the comment.

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  12. Sounds wonderful. A great combination of flavors.

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    1. Hi Words of Deliciousness, this recipe really does have a nice combo of flavors - truly a terrific dish. It's good stuff! ;-) Thanks for your comment.

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  13. I believe I would be in heaven with a bowl of these potatoes. Lordy they look good.

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    1. Hi Maureen, these are heavenly indeed! Thanks for the comment.

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  14. Replies
    1. Hi Asmita, ;-) Thanks! They're really excellent.

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  15. I love dishes that I can make ahead of time and that pack so much flavor! Potato dishes aren't typically strong in flavor and I love that this one is. Can't wait to try it out. Thanks for another great recipe!

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    1. Hi Kristy, this dish does have flavor that you'll sit up and notice! Really good, but the spices don't mask the underlying potato flavor. Thanks for your comment.

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  16. I love everything about the recipe you are featuring today. It looks beautiful and sounds delicious. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

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    1. Hi Mary, it's a great recipe - one I think you might enjoy. Thanks for the kind words, and the comment.

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  17. Love this gorgeous dish, I wonder if I can grill the potatoes, YUM! I love working with ginger, but i really don't know how to incorporate it in dishes, I don't work with it enough:-) This looks and sounds delicious, Take care, Terra

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    1. Hi Terra, interesting idea to grill the potatoes. You could certainly do that, and then finish them in the ginger-garlic spice paste on top of the stove, I would think. Don't know if you could coat the potatoes with the paste, then grill them - I'm not thinking that would work, but who knows? Thanks for your comment.

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  18. I love love love potato dish...what a great side dish! I love the beautiful yellow color which compliments other dishes on the plate. Turmeric is a wonderful spice!

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    1. Hi Nami, a good, vibrant yellow is so cheerful! These not only look great, they taste great. Thanks for your comment.

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  19. This sounds tasty and easy, how can I lose? I like Indian food but a lot of Indian recipes have so many ingredients and take so much time that I tend to avoid them. Thanks for some easy ones.

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    1. Hi Food Junkie, this is indeed a pretty easy recipe. Once you have all the prep done, the cooking itself is a breeze. Thanks for your comment.

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  20. Oh yea - now we're talking! Garlic, ginger, turmeric and fennel cooked with potatoes - I want some! I keep a jar of garlic-ginger paste in the fridge at all times, so that step is done. I love the idea of adding the turmeric when you make the paste. Great idea! Nothing more to say except that I love these potatoes!

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    1. Hi MJ, glad you like this recipe! Your imagination is doing these proud - great potatoes. Thanks for your enthusiastic comment!

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  21. Your potatoes sound fantastic, John, and this series a good one. All of the dishes you've shared are accessible, something that can't be said of many Indian dishes, particularly for the inexperienced like myself. I see a Tandorri chicken dinner in my future, served with either yellow rice or these spuds. I'd invite a friend or 2 for dinner but I'd have to share. Maybe next time.

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    1. Hi John, thanks for noticing all the dishes are accessible - that's something I tried to concentrate on. No really exotic ingredients, straightforward technique, and reasonable cooking times. I hope you enjoy your Tandoori Chicken dinner. Once you taste it, I suspect you will be making it often to share - it's a great company dish. Thanks for your comment.

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  22. These potatoes are absolutely stunning and I can feel the inside of my mouth dancing with all these flavors going on. Great informative post.

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    1. Hi Vicki, aren't they nice? Tons of flavor in these! Thanks for the kind words, and the comment.

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  23. I love potatoes doesn't matter how they're cooked, especially this kind of recipe that has so many flavours going on! Stunning photos as usual. :)

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    1. Hi Jenny, aren't potatoes wonderful? One of my favorite foods. And they take to spices so well! Thanks for the kind words, and the comment.

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  24. These could definitely be a dangerously addicting addition to my standard side dishes. They look to die for. I love the ginger too! So tasty!

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    1. Hi Kim, welcome! These potatoes are great! And very addictive, as you say. Once you try them, there's no going back - so be careful! Thanks for your comment.

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  25. These look so flavoursome! I love spiced potatoes.

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    1. Hi Amanda, they're great! So much flavor. Thanks for your comment.

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  26. I saw these on Pinterest. I made these tonight and they were excellent! I added about a 1/2 tsp of cumin for a flavor punch and they were wonderful. Not for the faint of heart, they were quite spicy! Will definitely make these again, thanks for posting :)

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    1. Hi Kelly, isn't this a nice dish? I love playing with the spices in it - you can take it in so many different directions. depending on what spices you decide to add. Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for taking time to comment.

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